UPDATE: A previous version of the story incorrectly reported the fees developers pay Brentwood. The correct number is just over $1,200.
By MATT BLOIS
A developer proposing a 300 home project on Buckner Lane offered to pay more than the fees required by Spring Hill to speed up improvements to the road at the Board of Mayor and Alderman work session on Monday.
Developers already have to pay an impact fee that the city uses to upgrade its roads when new people move to town, but Crescent Homes offered to pay the city $2000 extra for each home it builds.
The amount the city charges in impact fees is based on the amount of traffic a project will generate. Drive through restaurants and gas stations pay a lot because lots of cars come through there, while nursing homes don’t pay nearly as much. Home developers have to pay the city a flat fee of $521 every time they build a new single family house, and more than $300 for for every townhome or apartment.
However, Spring Hill has much lower roadway impact fees than other cities in Williamson County. In Franklin, developers have to pay almost $5,000 to build a single family home and just over $3,000 to build an apartment or townhome. In Brentwood, developers have to pay more than $1,200 to build a single family home.
Under the plan it presented to Spring Hill on Monday, the Wilkerson Place project on Buckner Lane would be required to pay the city about $150,000 to improve the roads around it. Adding the extra $2,000 per home would generate about $600,000 in extra revenue for the city. The city hasn’t given the developer final approval to build the project, so the plans for the development could change.
Spring Hill created the roadway impact fee requiring developers to pay for the road improvements associated with new growth in 2015, and it has phased in those fees over the last three years. Those fees are now fully phased in. As of December 26, the city had collected almost $937,000 in roadway impact fees but it hasn’t spent any of that money yet.
Before creating impact fees, Spring Hill used a fee called the adequate facilities tax to fund some of its road construction. That tax worked a lot like the current impact fee. Developers had to pay the city for the infrastructure improvements required because of the new growth. But Spring Hill’s communication director Jamie Page said that tax didn’t generate enough revenue to keep up with road construction.
In addition to fees for roads, Spring Hill also charges developers for connecting to the sewer and water systems. It costs developers between $600 and $1,100 to connect to the sewer system depending on the type of construction, and $1,300 to connect a house to the city’s water system.
When new people move to Spring Hill, they often bring their kids, which puts a burden on the school system. The schools in Spring Hill are operated by the counties. In 2016, Williamson County tried to fund county schools by charging developers a fee for building new homes in the county. The fee would have cost developers more than $11,000 for large homes and about $2,800 for small homes.
The county has already collected more than $8 million in educational impact fees, but it can’t use the money because a group of developers sued the county over the fee. Now, the county plans to use the revenue generated by the increased sales tax to fund school construction.